An emerging social media site called Tumblr is drawing a lot of attention lately and many people are thinking about using it to start an online business. That’s a great idea, but before I answer the question – can you make money on Tumblr – there’s a need to understand how this platform work and what to expect if you are using it as a marketing tool.
What Exactly Is Tumblr?
Tumblr is a free social network that enables its users to broadcast (short) blog posts at the same time. Established in 2007, this microblogging site is currently owned by Yahoo and it’s reported to have more than 200 million blogs spanning over 420 million users.
Unlike other social media, the blog within Tumblr offers content that can be converted into income via two methods – advertising and affiliate programs.
Ad placements are generally managed by Yahoo and affiliate programs, on the other hand, is managed by Viglink, an in-text advertising service that strategically places affiliate links within a blog. You can choose to activate/deactivate both of these features in your blog settings.
With the kind of audience size that Tumblr receives on a daily basis, this method of monetizing does seems appropriate. But there’s a caveat – the revenue is NOT automatically shared with you.
By default, profiting from Tumblr isn’t that easy. Firstly, the ads is entirely controlled by Yahoo and Tumblr reserves the right to allow them on blogs. Based on the FAQs below, everything is pretty much self-explanatory, including the part that you DON’t earn anything from the ads – at the moment.
Secondly, unless you place your own affiliate links, relying on Viglink will point Tumblr as the referral and hence, they will get the commission and not you. But at least, this is the part that you have some kind of control over and I would recommend this route if you are really keen about making money on Tumblr.
The Pros of Using Tumblr
1) Audience size is probably the biggest advantage to using Tumblr for marketing. According to Pew Research Center, it is popular among the age group of 18 to 29 years old. So if your business niche targets this specific audience, and you are committed to engaging with them, this is an opportunity to build a brand for yourself.
2) Sometimes, a thousand word article can be very time consuming to write so having a microblog can be a good alternative to express your thoughts spontaneously without being too wordy. As long as it gets the point across, the length of the blog doesn’t really matter, right?
3) Visual plays an important role in Tumblr’s social engagement. Here’s a screenshot of what you can expect to see trending on a daily basis.
GIF, which is a short animated video, is another presentation format that’s gaining popularity within this platform. Again, if you are in a niche that can be easily represented with a lot of images (cooking/recipe blog, children’s clothing blog, photography/travel blog, arts/craft blog, beauty tips blog and etc.), they are probably worth sharing with the Tumblr community.
The Cons of Using Tumblr
1) In the case of using free platforms, you need to be aware that there’s no control over the preservation of your content. There’s no back-up or migrating system to what you publish.
Should Tumblr choose to deactivate your account, or worse, shut down its services, you could lose your blog altogether. This is probably fine if it’s just a personal blog created for fun, but if you are a business entity, it would be devastating.
2) Tumblr blogs are built on subdomains and that format in general, rarely rank on the modern search algorithms. In addition, short (thin content) blogs usually couldn’t compete with long keyword-targeted articles created by authority niche blogs that have higher chances of being found on the first page of Google.
In other words, even with over 100 microblogs, you’ll never get the right audience to read them if you don’t implement keyword research in your articles.
3) Another factor to consider is the readership quality. The content (not all of them) in Tumblr is sometimes provocative and it’s common to see extreme jokes, sexist comments, political driven remarks or simply downright silly stuff being posted every day.
It would seem odd to place a decent online business (like yours) amid these types of content and the seriousness of the readers is questionable, considering how many are actually attracted to negative media over value-added information.
At the end of the day, you might still get visitors to your site, but I think it would be a bit challenging to get good quality leads (readers that become paying customers).
The Best Way to Blog With Tumblr
After checking out several users on Tumblr, I was amazed to find many talented people who are actually trying to monetize with their skill sets. However, I feel that many of them are doing it the wrong way; they would link their Tumblr blogs to a webpage and another link to a free online marketplace like Storenvy or Etsy for selling their products.
All these links bring visitors to three different platforms and it creates a poor user experience because of the different interfaces and server response time. This can actually cause people to lose interest in your blog.
In my opinion, the best way to use Tumblr is just like any other social platform; provide a main link to your own website (not a web page) where you can use affiliate links without any risks, backup your blog and have control over your own online store instead of relying on external platforms.
This way, you are better off at driving targeted audience that is interested in your offers than some random visitors who are just looking for short burst of entertainment to pass their time.
I hope this quick review has provided an idea as to how you can market your business online with social media. So, can you make money on Tumblr? The short answer is yes, but remember, it’s not instantaneous and it will require a strong understanding of your niche and gaining their trust before you can expect a long-term customer relationship.
If you are interested to learn how to build a successful online business, do take a minute to visit my recommended training platform for more tools and resources.
Have any thoughts or questions about this topic? Feel free to leave a comment below and I shall get back to you as soon.
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